The on-going installation of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) is about 95 per cent completion and by December, it will commence full operations after commissioning.
The Acting Airspace Manager of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Port Harcourt station, Mr Francis Barile Mepba, who stated this in an interview in his office, said when the TRACON is functional, it will reduce the congestion of traffic and improve smooth flight operations and management of air traffic.
Mr Mepba said that TRACON will also ensure that the unnecessary flight delay experienced in the past will be overcome, explaining that, the agency is currently using what they called, “Procedural Air Traffic Controller (PATC) which he said the Air Traffic Controller uses his mental and professional knowledge to direct flights.
The Airspace Manager disclosed that the Total Radar coverage of Nigeria gives the controller the weather, visual picture of aircraft, thereby making the controller to know the position of the aircraft and where it is turning from and to, also seeing the aircraft without depending on his mental picture.
According to him, “By the time the Radar is completed, just as it implies, it means there will be effective reduction of congestion of traffic, and not only that, there will also be smooth flight operations and management of air traffic in the sense that all the unnecessary delay experienced in the past because of the procedural Air Traffic Controller (PATC) should have been overcome.”
The NAMA boss noted that on completion, and functionality, everybody will be happy.
He, however, said even when the TRACON is functional, the PATC will not be phased out, but would serve as back up, noting that power supply to the airport is epileptic and problematic.
On the assessment of safety of our air space, Mr Mepba said Nigerians should commend the efforts of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for its ability to attain to the present height and noted that the level of safety has increased tremendously, adding that, the agency has its equipment on air route which enable pilots to know their positions from point B to point A.
He, however, said Air accident is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, stating that, it is everywhere, where there is aviation industry, and it is called “Air miss”.
On the collusion that was averted recently involving the chartered plane carrying Akwa Ibom State governor, the agency regretted the unfortunate incident and thanked God for his intervention.
He, however, assured Nigerians that there is increase in safety measures in our air space, adding that, NAMA is working on upgrading its facilities nationwide.